Doc ‘Envoy: Shark Cull’ Sells Widely; German Cinema Re-Opening Concerns; UK Skills Review; ‘Weakest Link’ Reboot; RTL Sells Belgium Arm – Global Briefs

Deals On Eric Bana-narrated ‘Envoy: Shark Cull’
UK sales outfit Film Seekers has closed a series of deals on its feature documentary Envoy: Shark Cull. Pic is a conservation doc focusing on controversial shark control programs operated in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Directed by Andre Borell and produced by Reese Lowe for Hype Project Productions, and narrated by Eric Bana, the movie shot in 4K in multiple locations including Australia, Hawai’i, Fiji, Bahamas, South Africa and features renowned ocean and shark conservationists such as Ocean Ramsay, Madison Stewart, Paul De Gelder and Juan Oliphant. Heritage Films has taken rights for Australia and New Zealand and will release theatrically on July 21. Sparky Pictures will release in the UK and Ireland, with France acquired by Factoris Films. Discovery+ has secured U.S. and U.K. rights for its service to premiere during Shark Week. The deal was negotiated jointly by Film Seekers and Sparky Pictures on behalf of the filmmakers.

German Cinemas Uneasy On Re-Opening Protocols
On July 1 the majority of German cinemas will reopen, but the country’s major industry body, HDF Kino, has warned that the current conditions under which the reopening will take place are inadequate. The org issued an appeal today to the federal government to introduce joined-up thinking across the country’s various states and spell out clearer protocols that venues can follow when they open their doors. As Deadline reported in May, July 1 was agreed upon by Germany’s five cinema and distribution organizations as an appropriate date for re-opening, and the plan is going ahead as indicated. HDF Kino chief Christine Berg today warned against the patchwork of inconsistent hygiene and safety regulations currently advised. The org is calling for the following conditions to be stipulated (translated from German):

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1. The distance should only be one free space next to each occupied space.
2. Consumption on site must be permitted everywhere.
3. Accordingly, there must be no mask requirement when seated.
4. A restriction of access to vaccinated, convalescent and tested persons is to be lifted if the incidence continues to fall – as is already the case in some restaurants.

UK Skills Review To Analyze Growing Production Industry
The British Film Institute will undertake a ‘strategic skills’ review on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The review, conducted with industry body ScreenSkills as well as trade unions, is aiming to develop long-term solutions to tackle the current and increasing skills needs of the screen industries. As the production industry continues to recover post-lockdown, attention again turns to the ever-growing amount of large-scale shoots taking place on UK shores. The so-called ‘space race’ has seen a multiple studio facility building projects greenlit in recent years, and the country will need appropriately skilled workers to staff shoots. The focus of the review will be film and high-end TV with consideration of emerging technology such as virtual production. It will lay out proposals and policy recommendations that will be trialled through pilots in 2022-23.

BBC Reboots ‘Weakest Link’
BBC One is reviving Weakest Link for its first full series in more than nine years. Comedian Romesh Ranganathan will replace Anne Robinson as host of the 12-part reboot, which will involve celebrities competing for money for their chosen charities. Produced by BBC Studios Entertainment, the iconic format sees players answer general knowledge questions, eliminating a rival every round until two contestants duke it out for the win. Weakest Link first debuted in 2000 and became highly successful both in the UK and overseas, with remakes in territories including the U.S. Indeed, the BBC is following in the footsteps of NBC, which successfully revived Weakest Link in America last year with Jane Lynch hosting. The show was last on in the UK in 2017 when the BBC broadcast a special episode for charity Children In Need. Pete Ogden executive produces the reboot with Ranganathan.

RTL Group Sells Belgium Arm
European TV giant RTL Group has sold its Belgium arm, RTL Belgium, for €250 million ($299M) to media companies DPG Media and Groupe Rossel. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year. The RTL Belgium portfolio includes ad-funded TV channels RTL-TVI (family, general interest), Club RTL (children, sports, classic movies, and series), and Plug RTL (fiction, young culture, reality TV). “The sale is in line with our strategy and the best strategic option for RTL Belgium, its dedicated employees and our shareholders,” said RTL Group deputy CEO Elmar Heggen.

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